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Our skype meeting was held on Wednesday, May 16, 7PM. We discussed some final technical questions about our CIG spotlight presentation. I have completed the large visual for our group the Balancing Act. This visual states our inquiry question and will hopefully unify the entire display. We agreed to be at the IU at 7:30 because we are the first group presenting. I’m very pleased to know the Superintendent from my District; Mrs. Jackson will be in attendance on Friday. She as always been a great supporter of the Arts in my district. I will be proud to show her the growth and accomplishments I have made during my 3 years of participation in AE 2.0.

Yesterday I met with the Assistant to the Superintendent of my district and together we applied for the Target Arts Grant. I first found about this from AE 2.0. The amount of the grant is $2000.00 dollars. If we do get the grant my plan is to continue the project we started with the STEAM grant. The original project was a collaborative effort between ceramic artists Jim and Linda Winegar, and the ART ONE students of Burgettstown, The plan is to use the grant money to have the Winegars’ return to do a 2 Day residency at Burgettstown High School with the focus on various ceramic techniques. The Art One students will be introduced to the basics of wheel throwing, hand building and press mold techniques. The students will be able to benefit from the perspectives of these artists and it will be helpful in developing their own artistic voice. Ceramics students at Burgettstown will be able to benefit from this residency by improving their centering, throwing, trimming, hand building, and glazing techniques. I also plan to take what I have learned this year about INQUIRY in AE 2.0 and apply it to this ceramic project. The possibilities of this coming to fruition are exciting. We will know if we were accepted this coming August, wish us luck!

Artist Website

Check out the 3 videos Marlynn and I filmed at their pottery

The Balancing Act meeting
March 15th Brownsville High School 4:30pm
We discussed our ideas for our final presentation on Friday May 18th. I offered to make the center piece of the presentation because I was unable to attend the optional work meetings. We agreed it would be a large visual of the Cat in the Hat balancing dishes and umbrellas on a tightrope. Each CIG member is also going to make a personalized umbrella that tells our story that will be incorporated with the final presentation. The centerpiece will include our Group Inquiry Question: “When learning necessary art and music skills, where can the balance between inquiry-based and teacher-directed instruction be found? (Or: which instructional strategies work best)”
The Balancing Act CIG members also discussed using our iPads for photos and videos of this year’s individual and group work.
Note. (Rant) Google maps do not take one to …Brownsville High School rather to some athletic field.

Group Inquiry #2
Reflecting back on this project I think most of my students really began to understand the techniques, composition, and thought processes artists use when they produce an original work of art. I think had a high success rate for this project. The students learned about the history of the work, techniques used, and its creator without the usual drudgery. I think reproducing Art from the masters helped my students to acquire an appreciation and understanding of both aesthetics and technique. By reproducing a painting the students gained insight into an artist’s process, which in some cases helped the student achieve new level of competency with their own composition and technique.

After completing this project I think many of the students began to look more closely at works of art and realized said works can be a factor for the personal growth of a student/artist. I also strongly encouraged students if given the opportunity to see these works in person for not only inspiration but the offerings of texture often unseen from a 2-D photo from a book or a screen. Some of the students realized that study of masters is important part of becoming an artist, as they studied their chosen painting; they saw their learning curve increase tremendously. I stressed the goal is not only to learn a particular artist’s style, composition, or techniques, but also how that artist thought.

At the conclusion of the project the students participated in a critique of each others work. The students were asked to notice and describe the features of the painting; some informal inquiry was discussed on how the piece was composed and some thoughts on its content and meaning. The goal was is not only to learn a particular artist’s techniques, but to inquire about the thought process in creation.
The administration was pleased that my class incorporated thought and writing, which they see as an important addition to the overall curriculum.

Some of the Inquiry questions the students came up with …..
How did the artist approach the work? What techniques and materials were used?
What media was used in production? How is the media different than what is available to artists today?
What feelings are expressed in this painting? What techniques did the artist use to convey those emotions?
I’ll close with some interesting quotations on this subject

(Great works of art) “Are not the product of single and solitary births; they are the product of many years of thinking in common, of thinking by the body of the people, so that the experience of the mass is behind the single voice”
-Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
“Alot cats copy the Mona Lisa, but people still line up to see the original.”
Louis Armstrong
“Only God creates. The rest of us just copy.”
– Michelangelo

Blog Post 3
Inquiry in the Art Classroom
David Roth

My Art One students are currently working on a project where they take a famous work of art and reproduce it and change it in some way. They are required to write 5 inquiry questions about the work, artist, techniques used, and style. The objectives for the lesson are as follows: Pick a famous work of art (painting) that you are attracted to, identify with, or find interesting. Complete a contour line drawing of the composition. Research the artist, style, period, techniques, etc. Render a close copy of the piece changing something about the composition. Complete a 2 or 3 page paper or text for a gallery card effectively describing and analyzing a work of art. Write as least 5 questions that can be used for inquiry about the painting or artist. We first defined inquiry as the act of seeking information by asking questions; the search for truth, information, or knowledge; an investigation; examination into facts and principles.

The criteria I used to begin this process were having the students to provide the title of the work of art and the name of the artist. I had them write 5 facts and 5 opinions about the work of art and write a short paragraph about each. Then students studied and researched the painting they picked. Doing the contour line drawing really helped them understand the underlying composition of the work. I encouraged the use of inquiry to learn about the artist style and painting techniques. The students were given some advice on the act the act of inquiring by seeking information and asking self formulated questions about the topic.

Example Questions …….

What clues does the work of art give to the time, place, culture, or setting in which it was produced? How was it made? Does the work of art have a function or purpose? What is the history of the painting itself? Who owns it now? Who owned it in the past? What story, meaning or idea does the painting express?

Unfortunately, many art one students either do not inquire at all, or use inquiry quite unconsciously. Rarely do they use it to its full potential. With some thought, and conscious intent they may find that inquiry can bridge gaps previously uncrossed and reveal information critical to a deeper understanding and study of the work of art.
I’m also thinking of having the students write a critical review of their classmates work.
I think some of the students realized that carefully and systematic inquiry helped them to pursue their wonderings. I think the students were encouraged to think like the Artist; understand the why by doing.

“Artists are magical helpers. Evoking symbols and motifs that connect us to our deeper selves.” –Joseph Campbell

I found the article “Creativity and Imagination: Tool for teaching Artist Inquiry” the most interesting choice to blog about. Webster’s dictionary defines METAPHOR as the following: a figure or speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them (as in drowning in money); broadly : figurative language

I have used symbols and metaphor to promote creative designs for original art production in the past. I currently do project with my 8th graders I call “Exercise in Thought.” In the particular project I have the students pick a word (any word school appropriate) write down on the handout I ask the students to tell me the (color, smell, taste, sound, texture, shape, object, animal, food, drink, clothing, place setting, weather, music, painting, literary work) of that word or something closely related for the use of metaphor for art production. I also tried this exercise when I taught elementary as a long term sub for a year. I really enjoyed this time before I got a full time position in the high school. My perception was that the younger children didn’t really know what they couldn’t do nor had no fear of failure. It seems to me that as some of the same students got older some of the internal creative powers they possessed were gone or at least diminished.

My main interest was the articles’ hierarchy of the four levels of creative thinking: fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration. I think these would be good starting point while encouraging original art. This theoretical model provides a framework that I plan to use with the students. However I do not think this is the be all end all of successful art production.
I plan on using Siegsmund’s Visual Cycle of Inquiry in future projects. I think it would stimulate student thinking starting with perception /fluency >conception/originality and elaboration >expression>reflection.

In keeping with my interest and promotion in all things Joseph Campbell I’ll close with this…

“But when you understand a metaphor — you know, just high school grammar language — when you interpret the metaphor in terms of the denotation instead of the connotation, you’ve lost the message. That’s like going into a restaurant and reading the menu and deciding what you’re going to eat, and you eat that part of the menu. The menu is a reference to something transcendent of that piece of paper.” – Joseph Campbell

I am going to focus on a serious reply to Quote #1 “Problems are stimulus to thinking…. Growth depends upon the presence of difficulty to be overcome by the exercise of intelligence….The problem grows out of the conditions of the experience being had in the present, and that it is within the capacity of students; and secondly, that is such that it arouses in the learner an active quest for information and the production of new ideas” Dewey.

 I have always thought in the Art room there is room for everybody. The problem I most often encounter is dealing with the student(s) who feel or think they have little or no aptitude toward quality art production. Some students having trouble see others being very successful at production. They  think others are naturals or gifted. They often fail to see the environmental factors or the hard work involved in becoming a successful artist.

 I tell them you have got to hold the door open to do anything that hasn’t been done before. These students have their own thing, Sometimes all criticisms must be held in abeyance until the students feels self worth and confidence in their work and voice.

 I think this problem could stimulate a shared inquiry into why Art production seems so difficult for some and to others comes easily.

“The job of an educator is to teach students to see the vitality in themselves.”-

 Joseph Campbell

September 2020

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